Words of Wisdom 009: On fortitude as the middle way

Fortitude thrives in the tension of vulnerable emotional awareness and courageous grit. To feel and deal with the reality of life without being overwhelmed. It means taking action congruent with your values.

Living as tough as a warrior, void of tenderness and vulnerable conversations, is not enough to have fortitude. You don't always need to wear your armor. You might need it less than you think. But you do need armor–that courageous action in the face of real threat. Being passive or a victim is undoubtedly not fortitude.

Living only focused on making peace but lacking the courage to face your fears or fight for justice is not fortitude. If you aren't willing to die for what you value, you need to find new values. It is love that draws one towards sacrifice. Daily consistency is more challenging than dying for a worthy cause. It's also how you would grow your character to the point where you will be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Fortitude is the middle way of a warrior's heart and a lover's delight.


Don't wait for New Years to make a resolution to grow. Consider committing to one of the following challenges in the next 3-6 months. Choose something that won't be easy, something that scares you. That's the point!

Complete a Spartan race or GoRuck challenge.

Start your shower cold.

Write at least 100 words every day in November. The practice of sitting down to write daily is a practice in growing grit.

Craft your own adventure in the wild. A backpacking trip. A hunting expedition. Extended time in wild places guarantees you face uncertainty and discomfort.

Fast from food one day a week or social media for a month and replace it with reading and prayer.

Arrange a 24-48 hour silent retreat. Maybe you're consistent with taking courageous physical action but uncomfortable with being truly alone.

Attend a weekend marriage conference or do couples counseling. Perhaps intentional time with your spouse working on your relationship would be the most stressful thing for you on this list. If so, that might be a good indicator to go for it!

Commit to the Whole 30 challenge - if you can't eat clean and healthy food for 30 days, then you don't have fortitude when it comes to your relationship to food.

Craft your own challenge. What is something intimidating that scares you? An endeavor with clear standards that you aren't sure you can complete. Perhaps something you've dreamed of but never quite committed to doing.

Add community. The best way to grow is together. Either invite friends to join you or tell your closest friends to have them help keep you accountable to following through, support you along the way, and celebrate with you as you're successful.


"Be brave, my heart. Plant your feet and square your shoulders to the enemy. Meet him among the man-killing spears. Hold your ground. In victory, do not brag; in defeat, do not weep."

Archilochus, as quoted in The Warrior Ethos

"Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them."

Brene Brown, Rising Strong


How can I intentionally take action to grow in fortitude?

What is a healthy risk forward?

What would I choose if I gave myself permission to be stronger?


Merely thinking about fortitude won't change you. Only going further down the path than you can see today will grow fortitude.

One step forward today is more valuable than thinking about the next step one thousand times. Ready, fire, aim. One of the greatest regrets on people's deathbed is that they didn't take more risks towards their dreams with the time they had.

Live wisely and take a risk today,


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